Our Historical Society
      The Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta began in 1988 as a committee of the Calgary Jewish Community Council. The Southern Alberta Historical Committee was chaired by Jay Joffe, who realized that 1989 marked the centennial of continuous Jewish settlement in Alberta, and was concerned about the fragmented nature of Jewish historical research in this area.
      Invitations to join the committee were sent to a number of Calgarians known to share an interest in Jewish history. The group realized that data on the area's Jewish history was rapidly disappearing. Jewish pioneers were passing away; material held by family members was often discarded or overlooked. Information was decentralized, fragmented and not easily available to the community.
      The first project was to be an immediate review, cataloguing and summarizing of all available Jewish historical resources in Calgary. A small provincial grant helped underwrite this project, soon completed and published as Shorashim (Roots).
      The committee was inorporated as the Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta in 1989. Jay Joffe was elected President.
      In 1990 the JHSSA began regular publication of its journal Discovery, the only such periodical in Canada distributed to the entire Jewish community.

      An office was set up at the Calgary Jewish Community Centre. It includes secure storage areas for the Society's growing collection of artifacts and archival materials, and houses the Harry B. Cohen Genealogical Library.
      Annual meetings have featured notable guest speakers, dramatized readings, and multi-media presentations of material from the Society's archives. Each year a number of Southern Alberta's Jewish pioneers are honoured.
      The Society has inventoried all Jewish burial sites in Calgary, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. Each gravestone was photographed and all inscriptions translated into English.
      Over 200 members now support the many activities of the Jewish Historical Society.
      Land of Promise, the Society's major exhibit, had its debut at the Calgary Jewish Centre in 1992. Over 400 reproductions of photographs, documents and artifacts were displayed. Land of Promise was enjoyed by the general community at Fort Calgary in 1993 and has also travelled to Edmonton and Vancouver.
      This book is a lovingly-prepared print version of our popular visual exhibit, with many new photos, updated data, and more family histories.
      We present it with pride and gratitude to our forefathers.